Other people's music is the soundtrack to my commute

iPod sound pollution is on the rise, and it's not dodgy headphones that cause it, but people who don't give a damn about others

Share
Related Topics

What will it be today? As I get on the bus each morning, I never know what I'll end up listening to. Will it be 40 minutes of 50 Cent or a bit of Abba? Will it be "Bad Romance" or "Good Vibrations"? Or Sebastian the crab singing his claws out? It's not that I'm a slave to the shuffle function on iTunes, it's that other people's music has become the soundtrack to my commute.

Or, in the case of Sebastian (the Little Mermaid's pal), the soundtrack to someone else's commute. A girl on a friend's train carriage gave everyone an hour's worth of Disney songs because her headphones weren't plugged in properly and everyone thought it was too funny (or too embarrassing) to tell her.

When faced with a wall of sound too loud to bear, when I worry about my own hearing being damaged, let alone that of the person plugged in, I have been known, on occasion, politely to ask unwitting DJs to turn their tunes down. If they don't look like they might punch me. On other occasions I grit my teeth, or share grimaces with other people being forced to listen to White Snake turned up to 11 at eight in the morning.

But while I understand that phones and MP3 players let us zone out from our journeys and give us a solitary bubble in which to travel, rather than listen to tube announcements, or nose-blowing or mothers yelling at their children, they also make us selfish.

Because despite dodgy headphones (or, worse, music played through the phone's speakers) this sort of sound pollution is the fault of people not giving a damn about others.

I'd be horrified if I realised I was blaring out Disney's greatest hits in a packed train carriage ("Under the sea! Under the sea!/Darling it's better, down where it's wetter, under the sea!") but it wouldn't be because everyone knew about my love of cartoon show tunes.

It's because I would be ashamed to invade someone else's personal space with my music. I always test my headphones to see how much sound they spread and turn my music down accordingly.

Or I try to teach by example and not spend entire journeys plugged in and oblivious. (To which the plugged in, obviously, remain oblivious). But that only means more unexpected soundtracks each morning.

"A Whole New World"? Not unless everyone starts turning their music down.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Residential Property Solicitor - Hampshire

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE - SENIOR POSITION - An exciti...

Recruitment Genius: Gas Installation Engineer

£29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor

£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor is req...

Recruitment Genius: HVAC & Mechanical Service Estimator

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Yorkshire based firm looking to...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Michael Brown was shot and killed by police in August  

Ferguson: The sad truth is that Michael Brown was killed because he was a black man

Bonnie Greer
A protestor poses for a  

Ferguson verdict: This isn't a 'tragedy'. This is part of a long-running genocide of black men in America

Otamere Guobadia
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital
In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty